The week@work – It’s still 3 minutes to midnight, an engineer’s regret, a world run by millennials and the myth of the ‘best jobs’ lists

This week@work began with the announcement that the ‘Doomsday Clock’ has remained at 3 minutes to midnight, and ended with a remembrance day for NASA astronauts lost. Millennials will soon assume a larger role in global leadership and may move the hands of that clock backward, and ‘astronaut’ does not appear on either list released last week, ranking top jobs for 2016.

“Martyl Langsdorf’s “Doomsday Clock,” which first graced the cover of the Bulletin’s print edition in 1947, has served for 69 years to focus the world’s attention on the most pressing global threats. The time on the Clock reflects whether we are more or less safe than last year, and compares the current situation to years further in the past; the decision on where to set the Clock’s hands is an attempt to reconcile the achievements and breakdowns in security efforts, broadly defined, that occur each and every year.

Last year, the Science and Security Board moved the Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes to midnight, noting: ‘The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon.’ That probability has not been reduced. The Clock ticks. Global danger looms. Wise leaders should act—immediately.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 2016

While many hold personal memories of where we were on January 28, 1986, those closest to the program provide a cautionary tale on leadership, communication and the value of trusting the voice of your employees.

As NASA observed a ‘Day of Remembrance’, NPR correspondent, Howard Berkes, returned to Bringham City, Utah to interview Bob Ebling, ’30 Years After Explosion, Challenger Engineer Still Blames Himself’.

“Thirty years ago, as the nation mourned the loss of seven astronauts on the space shuttle Challenger, Bob Ebeling was steeped in his own deep grief.

The night before the launch, Ebeling and four other engineers at NASA contractor Morton Thiokol had tried to stop the launch. Their managers and NASA overruled them.

That night, he told his wife, Darlene, “It’s going to blow up.”

When Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, Ebeling and his colleagues sat stunned in a conference room at Thiokol’s headquarters outside Brigham City, Utah. They watched the spacecraft explode on a giant television screen and they knew exactly what had happened.”

The Economist contemplated a new global order when the millennials take charge, ‘When the young get older: their time will come’.

“Where some see a generation in crisis, others think the young are adapting quite well to the challenges of a changing world. They flit from job to job not because they are fickle but because job security is a thing of the past. They demand flexible hours and work-life balance because they know they don’t have to be in the office to be productive. They spend six hours a day online because that is how they work, and also how they relax. Their enthusiasm for new ideas (and lack of spare cash) has kickstarted money-saving technologies from Uber to WhatsApp. They take longer to settle down and have children, but so what? They will also be working far later in life than their parents did.

In every generation, the young are the first to take to the streets to demand reform. Sometimes their fury leads nowhere, but autocrats still fear it. That is why China’s government rolled tanks over the Tiananmen Square protesters, and why it censors social media today. Young Africans, for their part, may not put up indefinitely with gerontocrats such as 91-year-old Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and 82-year-old Paul Biya of Cameroon.

In democracies, young people will some day realise that signing online petitions is no substitute for voting (just as their elders started voting when they acquired grey hairs and mortgages and sent their children to government schools). When the young show up at polling stations, democratic governments will heed their views. And when the millennials start calling the shots more widely in society, they will do so for a long time. For thanks to steady advances in medical technology, they will remain healthy and able to work for longer than any previous generation. Indeed, if scientists’ efforts to crack the “ageing code” in human genes bear fruit, many of them will live past 120.”

Where are the jobs? That’s the question the experts try to answer each year, identifying the best jobs and best places to work.

U.S. News and World Report announced their 2016 Best Jobs Rankings and glassdoor.com ranked the 25 Best Jobs in America. Orthodontist, dentist, computer systems analyst, nurse anesthetist and physician assistant led the U.S. News Top 100. The glassdooor.com list’s top five included data scientist, tax manager, solutions architect, engagement manager and mobile developer.

It’s always good to have a snapshot of market driven job titles, but it doesn’t help if your ‘dream job’ doesn’t make the list, or even exist. The myth of these lists lie in the impermanence of work. The top jobs this year may vanish from the list next year. It’s about the work you want to do, and the job title you imagine or may create.

Three additional stories this week were reported by journalists at The New York Times: an analysis of the success of Iowa’s economic development, commentary on the career of a veteran NFL quarterback who found joy in his sport but will now have the long off season to consider lessons from a loss, and advice on how to raise a creative child.

‘In Iowa, Jobs Are Plentiful but Workers Are Not’ Patricia Cohen

“At 3.4 percent, Iowa’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country. With major metropolitan areas — crowded with hard-hat construction sites — painting an alluring picture of steady economic progress, business leaders here retain a sunny optimism that is rarely heard from the presidential candidates.

But now that Iowa has achieved a tightening labor market that is the envy of most other states, many companies are confronted with a different set of challenges pushing them to rethink everything from recruiting to economic development.”

‘Carson Palmer’s Memorable Season Ends With a Forgettable Night’  William C. Rhoden

“I’ll look back at this season at some point, but not tonight,” Palmer said. “This is the only game that’s on my mind, not the other 16, 17.”

Despite Sunday’s disaster, this was a season in which Palmer reclaimed some of the joy that the business of football and the grind of the sport had taken away.”

‘How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off’  Adam Grant

“Child prodigies rarely become adult geniuses who change the world…What holds them back is that they don’t learn to be original. They strive to earn the approval of their parents and the admiration of their teachers. But as they perform in Carnegie Hall and become chess champions, something unexpected happens: Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.”

 

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